chris tucker*At one time Chris Tucker was one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, making $25,000,000 in 2007 for “Rush Hour 3.”

Since that movie, not much has been heard from Tucker until now. Tucker fans can see him this Friday in “Silver Linings Playbook” and catch up on what he’s doing here at EURweb.

Earlier this week at a hotel in midtown Manhattan he told The Film Strip what he has been doing in the last five years and what to expect next.

“I was doing standup comedy and working at the clubs,” he revealed, “and I got a stand-up comedy movie coming out early next year.”

Dissatisfied with the movie offers he had been getting, Tucker jumped at the chance to play Danny in “Silver Linings” saying …

“My role was a smaller role but it was so important. It had so much depth to the character and working with David Russell (director) brings so many things out of you,” says Tucker. “He’s right there helping you along the way and the dialogue is so great. It actually made me look smart in the movie [Laughs]. But thanks to David, I think this is one of the most important roles I’ve ever done because a lot of people haven’t seen me do dramatic roles a lot.”

Keira Knightley says ‘Anna Karenina’ is timeless

keira knightly Keira Knightly was in New York earlier this year for the wacky comedy “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, that also starred Steve Carell and Derek Luke.” She was here recently for the sensational, stylized version of “Anna Karenina.” In between these two films, she has starred in a host of movies that include other period pieces, dramas and comedies. It was more than ten years ago that Knightly sat in the “Bend It Like Becham” publicity offices and discussed this very popular film. The Film Strip also interviewed her for “Love Actually” in London. That film starred Chiwetel Ejiofor as her groom, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.

Never shying away from a demanding role, Knightly embraced “Anna Karenina.” The Film Strip asked why she felt the film based on a book written more than a hundred years ago would resonate with moviegoers. “I think it resonates to this day because it’s about love and not just romance, not love in the way it’s all sold to us but love as the thing that we’ve been fascinated and obsessed by for centuries,” she explained. “Love is that thing that we are all after and yet can destroy us and is painful and can be madness and can be joy and can be happiness. It looks at the whole thing. I think that’s why it’s so complex. It has more questions within it than it has answers because we never manage to answer the questions.

“Love is something that is so inexplicable and so complex and strange. I think the novel looked at all of that. I think that’s why you keep going back to it. That’s why when preparing for this, when we were talking about it, every single person, whether they were a member of the crew or the cast, they could go, ‘oh yes, I relate to that’ because everybody had a story within their lives that was applicable to the situations. It didn’t matter that we lived in 2011 or 2012 or in 1873 that it was written because it’s about that emotion.”

Natalie Cole and Sonia Nassery Cole on same page

sonya nassari cole and natalie coleBlack Tulip,” which is directed by and stars Sonia Nassery Cole, is the story of the Mansouri family in Afghanistan in early 2001.

The family incurs the ire of the Taliban when they open a restaurant with an open mike platform that encourages poetry and music. Natalie Cole has two songs on the soundtrack and joined Nassery for interviews promoting the movie. With Sonia and Natalie both sharing the same surname, it was established early on in the conversation that the two were not related and but told The Film Strip they felt like family. “I’ve known Natalie for about 18 years and she is my best friend,” Sonia says. When I started the Afghanistan World Foundation, I asked Natalie if she would join the board and she is on the board of directors of the foundations.”

Listening to how they met, the word kismet came to mind. “We met in Los Angeles through a mutual friend,” Natalie tells me. “I was seeing a gentleman who knew a guy that was a very good friend of hers and he said why don’t we all get together and have a drink and it ended up she went with her friend and I went with my friend. I said my name is Natalie Cole and she said, ‘your last name is Cole? My last name is Cole too!’ “I’m such an idiot because I had no idea who she was,” Sonia adds. “I just loved her because she’s a woman that’s passionate and very interested in my background, where I came from.

“This woman is such a gentle soul,” Sonia continued. “We ended up having dinner and people are asking for her autograph right and left. And I said why are people asking for your autograph? She said, ‘oh I sing.’ I said, do you have a tape? I was talking to a friend of mine and I said I met this woman with the same last name as mine and she cares about humanity and people and women’s rights and she can sing also. And he said, ‘is her first name Natalie?’ And I said, ‘oh my god, how did you know?’ He said, ‘you’re so stupid, she won 11 Grammys.’ I called her and said, ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t know you were so famous!’ And she said ‘that’s why I liked you, I knew you had no idea, you just liked me for me.’”

So, Sonia were you dismayed that George W. Bush didn’t stay focused on Afghanistan?

SC: Big time.

Could you day the ending to the film is realistic?
SC: That’s the spirit of the Afghan people, they don’t give up. It’s been 30 years of war. If everybody just put their sign out and sit down, there’s gonna be no end to this war, it’s going to be another genocide. This generation is going to die when America pulls out. All hell is going to break loose.  That ending is important because it says freedom is not free and we have to fight for it and never give up.

The music is a real political statement since they are so anti-music.
NC: People were so surprised to even see me come into this country and perform for them. I’ve always believed music is the universal language of the world. If you can’t talk, you can sing it out

African Diaspora Film Festival begins

One of the most prestigious Afrocentric International Film Festivals in North America, African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF), was conceived in 1993 by current Co-Directors Reinaldo B. Spech and Diarah N’Daw-Spech. Their intention was and still is to “showcase quality national and international cinema while giving a voice to people of color all over the world.”

It attracts a wide cross-section of cinephiles, audiences of African-American, Caribbean, African, Latino and European ethnic backgrounds that share a common interest for good stories about the human experience of people of color. ADIFF is now a national and international event with festivals held in New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland.

It’s 20th New York City edition will be held in Manhattan from November 23 to December 9th. Included in the Festival will be a crop short films promoted by the National Film Commission of Namibia, a body dedicated to supporting emerging filmmakers and fostering filmmaking in Namibia. For further information contact: [email protected], www.NYADIFF.org.

Syndicated columnist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]